A Year Of Color : De-Stressing With Lavender

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We all experience stress. Whether you have Chronic Stress, stress out over that big meeting coming up, or stressing over the next blog post you are going to do- it happens. I have always felt stressed but I never really studying stress itself until I was in Esthetics school. We were learning all about stress and the effects it can have on the body (and on your skin) and I realized one of the reasons I got into Skin Care was so I could help people relax and help ease some of the stress they are experiencing.

Stress can cause headaches, upset stomach, changes in sex drive, sleep problems, anxiety, depression, irritability, overeating, and drug use. The list goes on and on. Seriously. Stress affects our bodies more ways than we even realize. If you deal with stress often (like me), you start learning what your body does when you are stressed. For me, my body has lots of fun ways of letting me know I need to chill: The cartilage in my rib cage gets inflamed causing horrible pains. I also get bad sore throats and ulcers on tongue. Yeah, it’s sexy I know. Then, I get more stressed out because my body is in so much pain. It’s a vicious cycle.

Today, I want to share some of the ways you can help de-stress yourself. Lavender is one of the most calming aromas on the planet (check out my aromatherapy post to learn more about how smell works) so I thought I would share some of the best ways to use Lavender to help relax!

Diffusing is a great way to help get a certain aroma all around your house. If you are busy and can’t take the time to just relax, diffusing is a great option for you. Drop a few drops of Lavender into a Diffuser and then you can keep on doing whatever it is you need to be doing. Since the diffuser does the work for you- and they are small enough you can have one at home or work- you can enjoy the aroma where ever you are!

If you have some more time to take to yourself, you could always take a nice bubble bath or do a little self massage. You can find products with Lavender in them pretty much everywhere (watch out for anything synthetic!). My favorite lavender products are from Aveda’s Stress-Fix line. This line includes, lotions, oils, bath salts, and a body cleanser.

These are just some of my favorite ways to de-stress with one of my favorite, most calming oils. Of course, everyone has their own ways to relax. Maybe you like to go see a movie or go fishing or take a hike. Whatever way you love to relax- do it! Please do not forget to love and take care of yourself.

It’s not OK right now (and that’s OK)

I know- it’s been awhile since I blogged. Honestly, I have been trying to stay so busy that I don’t even have moments to myself. I am trying to keep busy so I don’t start missing my husband.

My husband joined the United States Army. It feels so strange typing that. I never thought I would be in this position. I remember- throughout my entire life- I would see as men and women left their spouses for deployment and I would think ‘Oh my gosh. I could never ever do that. I couldn’t be away from my husband for that long.’ And now, I am going to be one of those women. It’s weird.

It seems like my personal mantra the past few weeks has been “It’s all okay.” That’s what my friends keep telling me, what my family keeps reminding me, and what I am constantly telling myself. It’s all okay. Everything will be fine.

The other day I was talking to a woman who’s husband had been in the military for several years. I told her how I was feeling about everything and I ended my rambling sentence with my statement of “But, it’s all okay.” This woman looked at me as if she was trying to decide if she should say what she was thinking. “I don’t want you to take this the wrong way or let this freak you out- but, it’s not okay. It’s going to be really hard and you’re probably going to cry a lot. He’s your husband and he is going to be gone for months at a time. It’s okay if something like that makes you sad.”
This has been the most helpful thing anyone has said to me about my husband joining the Army.
Of course I won’t be fine. The love of my life is leaving. I won’t be able to see him and I will barely be able to talk to him. It’s going to suck. It’s probably going to be the worst thing I have ever had to deal with. And that’s fine. It’s okay for me to be sad about this. It’s okay if I don’t have it all together. It’s okay if I can’t handle it right now. I’m still going to work, I’m still going to hang out with my friends, I’m still going to visit my family, and I’m still going to continue living my life and being as happy as possible.
It’s not gonna be okay right now and that’s okay. Because some days will be harder than others. Some days all I’m going to eat is ice cream. Some days will be great and I will go on drives and on hikes an do whatever I want to do.
It’s not gonna be okay right now and that’s okay. Because I am allowed to have feelings and emotions. I don’t have to be happy all the time. If I need to cry, I’m going to cry and then move on with my day.
It’s not gonna be okay right now and that’s okay. Because I know this isn’t going to last forever. I know that I love my husband more than anything and he loves me. I know that he wants to help our country and help others
One of my favorite quotes is something along the lines of “Everything will be alright in the end and if it’s not alright, then it’s not the end.” I’m okay with not being okay sometimes because I know it won’t always be hard and the days won’t always be bad. But, in the end, it will be great.
It won’t always be okay. And that’s fine with me. Because it will be someday.
fine.

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Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and I love this holiday! It is tied with Halloween for my favorite. Sometimes, you get to spend the entire day with your loved one for Valentine’s Day- other times, you may only get a couple hours to grab some breakfast or a drink before needing to do other things.
So, I wanted to give a few different ideas for the whole day that you can use together or just one idea for whatever you may have time for!

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8:30 AM – Treat yourself to donuts. Chances are your local donut places also has milk, chocolate milk, or coffee. Start your day with a yummy, sugary treat. If all you have is the morning together on Valentine’s Day, then this is a fun thing to do because you get some time to yourself while eating a delicious (although fattening) breakfast.

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1:00 PM – If you get to leave work early and you and your honey love relaxing together, why not get a couple’s massage? These tend to book out quickly for Valentine’s Day (I know this firsthand because I work in a spa). But, if you book your appointment in advance and try a few different places, you should be just fine! Couple’s massages are so intimate and relaxing and several places offer lots of specials to make this special date even more special.

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5:30 PM – Watch the sunset. Whether you have a picnic in the last light of the day, or catch the last bit of light and then go stargazing- watching the sunset is very romantic. This date idea also doesn’t cost anything! So go find a tall building or a mountain top this Valentine’s Day.

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8:00 PM – Now you have had a long day of either needing to be at work, taking care of kids, or spending a lovely day with your sweetheart. No matter how your day has been, you’re probably ready for a drink. I am not sure what this may mean to you- to me, it means soda or hot chocolate. There is this adorable place by where we live called Pop N’ Sweets. They have candy, chocolate, and soda from all over the world! They even have a cute little hot chocolate bar. When Wesley and I went, I got dark hot chocolate and he got… ButterBeer! I know… I know… way cool.

Whether you have an early breakfast, a nightcap, or all of the above with your love- I hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

Top 5: Utah County

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If you have come to visit me and Wesley while we have lived in Utah, chances are we took you to at least 1 of these places. This list is definitely not all there is to do in Utah County (that would require writing an entire book) but this is a small list of places we love taking our family and friends when they come to visit; we got hiking trails, driving trails, food places, etc… So, here is where Wesley and I will probably take you when you come to visit.

Sundance Resort

This is a beautiful mountain escape located up Provo Canyon. Robert Redford bought the land in the 1960’s and wanted to preserve the beauty of this new property. He envisioned “the balance of art, nature and community”. That’s what Sundance is and you don’t even have to book a room at the resort to experience this. Not only are there delicious dining options and an incredible spa, there’s a ski lift that is open all year round- for skiing in the Winter and beautiful views in the Summer. There are also numerous trails to walk around the resort and the surrounding forest.

When we bring people up here, we usually like to walk through the General Store, located right by a ski lift. We then like to get hot chocolate from next door and then walk around the grounds, taking lots of pictures!

 Bridal Veil Falls

This picturesque waterfall is in Provo Canyon; in fact, you drive right by it on your way to Sundance Resort. When you get to the falls, you can either drive up a ways and park right in front of the falls to enjoy the view. Or, you can park at Nunn’s Park and walk along a nice trail to the waterfall. Either way, you will get a beautiful view of Bridal Veil. If you want a little more adventure, you can actually follow a steeper, switch back trail to go up the waterfall! It does give some amazing views of the canyon.

Thanksgiving Point

The best part about Thanksgiving Point is you have so many options of fun things to do! You can just spend an afternoon at the gardens, or you can spend a day or two experiencing everything you can!

You have your choice of 2 museums: The Museum of Natural Curiosity and the Museum of Ancient Life. There are also beautiful gardens that expand for 55 acres! You can even go to Farm Country and check out all the different animals. With an amazing local movie theatre and lots of places to eat, this is a place you can check out over and over again.

Alpine Loop

This is one of my most favorite places in the world. Alpine Loop is a scenic byway that cuts from American Fork Canyon to Provo Canyon and actually goes right by Sundance Resort! The road cuts alongside mountain edges, follows rivers, and takes you through magical Aspen Groves. Wesley loves this because it’s a fun drive with his Subaru. I love it because I see something new and different about the scenery every time we go. We both love it because we can either drive straight through, or stop and have ourselves a little adventure on one of the various trails.

We love bringing people on this drive and walking around to take pictures. It really gives our friends and family a nice chance to see the beauty of Utah- away from the noise of the city.

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Station 22

By the time we are done taking our friends on one of these adventures, we are ready to eat! We have soooo many favorite restaurants in Utah (hmm… that’s a good blog post idea…) but we decided to pick one that was different from other places we had been and not something you can really find anywhere else.

Station 22 is the perfect place for delicious comfort food. Not only do you have your choice of burgers and salads- the menu also includes chicken and waffles, mac & cheese, fish and chips, and delicious appetizers. They even have huge wall of craft sodas- colas, creams sodas, root beers, birch beers, sarsaparillas- and much, much more! You get to eat all this food and drink your yummy soda and the cutest, eclectic cafe. I’m getting hungry just writing this!

There you go! Those are some of mine and Wesley’s favorite places to take our friend and family! I hope you got some fun ideas for your next adventure!

*The picture of Thanksgiving Point is not my picture*

Master Esthetician

As of last month, I am officially a licensed Master Esthetician in the state of Utah!

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I honestly can’t believe it. Before I started my education in esthetics, I had attended 4 different colleges (2 community colleges and 2 universities). I had changed my major 4 times and was about to change it again. I was interested in a lot of different things; For some reason, nothing I did felt like something I could be excited about learning for the rest of my life.

One day, I decided to make a list of everything I enjoyed learning about, reading about- stuff I never got tired of. No matter how silly it was, I wrote it down. Believe me, there were some really weird things on that list. At the very top of that list was skin care. I had loved skin care for a long time but never associated it with a career. I had grown up with this vision in my head that I needed t go to a University. I had to get a well rounded education and a degree I could do anything with. While I was so focused on that, I never took the time to think if that was the right path for me.

I love esthetics and I loved my education at the Aveda Institute in Provo, Utah. I am also so grateful I have been able to remain in the Aveda network, as now I am working at an Aveda spa and salon.

Everyone has a different path. This was right for me and I am so glad I realized that. Thank you to everyone who supported me, let me ramble on about the skin, helped me pass my state tests, and everyone who loved me and was patient with me this year.

I love you all!

Winter Wonderland

I am definitely a summer girl.

I love green trees, lakes, waterfalls, barbecue, clear nights, the sun… I just can’t lie. I have a favorite season. And it’s Summer. It’s a good thing the seasons are not my children- that might be problematic.

Anyway! So, Summer is great, Spring is beautiful, and I definitely do not mind Autumn. But, Winter and I have not had the greatest relationship. When I lived in Southern California, I never really noticed it because my Winter in Huntington Beach consisted of 75 degree weather and beach days. No, it wasn’t until I moved to Utah that I found out me and Winter don’t really get along.

It’s cold. It’s dark. My heating bill goes up. I slip on ice all the time. Driving is a hazard. The list can go on and on. So, every once in awhile I just need that little reminder that Winter is beautiful in it’s own way.

Today I got that little reminder.

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I mean- yes, it is still dark and cold. But it is oh so magical.

Memories From 2016

What an amazing year 2016 was!

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As I look back on this year, I am filled with so much gratitude and happiness. Wesley and I were able to explore so much of our beautiful state of Utah- from waterfalls and lakes to forests and views. We love this amazing place we live in; We were even able to buy our first home together here!

I graduated as a Master Esthetician from the Aveda Institute in Provo. It was an amazing education and I love having a career where I am continuously learning. I feel so blessed to work in a field where I feel I can help people.

Wesley and I are so excited for the adventures to come in 2017!

My Number One Rule For Cleaning

As some of you may know, my parents were in town a couple weeks ago for General Conference. I don’t know about you, but when my parents say they are coming to see me, my very first thought is ‘oh my gosh, my apartment is a mess- I have to clean’. Maybe your apartment is always spotless (if it is, please tell me how you do that). If you’re not quite that tidy I have one major tip to share which I have learned over the years:

Always clean your bedroom first.

I know, I know- your guests aren’t even going to see your bedroom so why would you worry about that first when there is so much more to do? Because you see your bedroom and it can be the most important room in your house. How often do we get the rest of the home looking beautiful and then leave our bedroom looking neglected? Or maybe your bedroom becomes a catch-all for when you’re cleaning the rest of the house. Somehow, the little stuff from everywhere else gets put into the bedroom- that’s good news for the family room but bad news bears for the bedroom.

Having a clean bedroom can help you sleep better, feel more peaceful, creative, and motivated. That means cleaning your bedroom first can help give you that extra push to get the rest of your home clean! Here are some tips to help you start making your bedroom the sanctuary it can be.

IMG_95001. Make your bed first

If you make your bed first, you are more likely to finish cleaning. This is because your bed is so noticeable- when you see how nice it looks, you will feel more inclined to get the rest of your bedroom looking that nice.

2. Put all those clothes away

For me, most of the mess in my bedroom ends up being just clothes lying around. Fold what needs to be folded. Hang up what needs to be hung up. Keeping your bras hung up on the bed post does not count as clean (guilty).

3. Clear off surfaces

Yes, your make up being displayed on your dresser does look super cool. But, it also makes your dresser look super cluttered. Get all your surfaces organized, put things away that can be, and then dust everything to make it look spotless.

4. Storage

Storage is your best friend. This is how you’re going to keep your bedroom looking clean. There is storage for every space you can think of- under your sink, in your dresser drawer, in your closet, under your bed… you get the picture. You can find it cheap at pretty much any store and you can customize your storage to fit your individual needs!

Now that your bedroom is clean- go tackle the rest of the house!

~M